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Health Information For Parents
The multiple marker test is a blood test offered to all pregnant women. Doctors use it to screen for chromosomal disorders and neural tube defects.
Test results can be combined with first trimester screening tests to give more accurate results (this is called an integrated screening test).
It is important to remember that this is a screening test, not a diagnostic test. If the test shows there might be a problem, another test must be done to confirm or rule out a diagnosis.
The multiple marker test is done between weeks 15 and 20 of a woman’s pregnancy to screen for neural tube defects (such as spina bifida) and chromosomal disorders (such as Down syndrome and trisomy 18).
Depending on the number of things measured, the test also is called:
This screening calculates a woman’s individual risk based on the levels of the three (or more) substances, as well as:
The greater number of markers increases the accuracy of the multiple marker test and better identifies the possibility of a problem. In some cases, doctors will combine the results of this test with results from the first trimester screen to get an even better idea of a baby’s risk for Down syndrome and neural tube defects.
All pregnant women are offered some form of this test. Some health care providers include more parts of it than others.
Remember that this is a screening test, not a diagnostic test. It’s also not foolproof — a problem might not be detected, and some women with abnormal levels are found to be carrying a healthy baby. Further testing is recommended to confirm a positive result.
The blood tests are typically done between 15 and 20 weeks.
Blood is drawn from the mother.
Test results usually are ready within a week, but can take up to 2 weeks.
Genetic counselors work with people who are either planning to have a baby or are pregnant to determine whether they carry the genes for certain inherited disorders. Find out more.
Every parent-to-be hopes for a healthy baby, but it can be hard not to worry. Find out what tests can keep you informed of your health â and your baby’s â throughout pregnancy.
Find out what tests may be offered to you during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Find out what tests may be offered to you during weeks 13 through 26 of pregnancy.
Find out what tests may be offered to you during weeks 27 through 40 of pregnancy.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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